Gotham Chopra: Brave New (Digital) World

Next Monday, July 16th, we are launching a new channel on YouTube called The Chopra Well. If you’re one of the millions that follow me, my sis, or my dad – okay mostly my dad – on Twitter, Facebook or some other social media outpost, then you probably already know about this offering because of the relentless tweets, updates, and other solicits that have come your way urging you to subscribe to our channel – for good measure SUBSCRIBE to our channel HERE.

Amongst the many activities we Chopras indulge in, this is definitely a uniquely notable one, if only because with it, we’re roaming uncharted territories. Here’s the backstory:

A little over a year ago we met with the fine folks at YouTube and became aware of their plan to re-imagine their already incredibly prolific online video portal. At the risk of butchering their well thought out mission, I’ll sum it up (crudely) as the following: YouTube announced to us (and soon to the world) a plan to finance up to 100 “premium channel partners” to create professional grade content for the purpose of engaging existing communities and aggregating subscribers. There’s been much debate since what the larger motive of this initiative is – media convergence, advertising arbitrage, total world domination – but suffice to say that a couple hundred million was soon deployed, a small portion of which we got after a rigorous pitch and negotiation process and we’ve been toiling away ever since in anticipation of today (and beyond).

Now, as anyone who has ever put together a power point deck laying out a plan knows, there’s the roadmap you present to “get the money” and then the actual roadmap that evolves after you “get the money.”

In our case, the arbitrators that have participated in the discussion and construction of that roadmap are an experienced group of media executives from a company named Generate, a smart group of marketers from a company named Alloy, and innovative, hardworking, creative individuals we brought onto the team over the last few weeks and months to build the channel.

Amongst the many things we started to learn as we looked deeper under the hood of what we were trying to do by creating an online channel for people interested in personal and social transformation, was a singular challenge. Today, while the “wellness and wellbeing” industry is one of the fastest growing industries in America (especially when you include exploding trends in meditation adoption, yoga, organic and holistic diets, alternative medicine, awareness around the ecology and recycling, and socially conscious businesses and “just capital”), many of the people engaged in the space aren’t necessarily online, let alone on YouTube. Right now, YouTube’s highest trafficked channels are ones generally driven by younger viewers mostly interested in video games, geek and pop culture, and that have an almost instinctive fascination with video created by users that often chronicles their own most banal (or crude) activities.

Our core demo on the other hand is the exact antithesis. They are mostly made up of individuals 35+ with substantial life experience that often puts their personal and professional priorities into conflict. They are people with intensive jobs, demanding family lives, high personal ambitions, and even higher social ambitions. They often are highly successful and accomplished but at the same time have a nagging anxiety that their lives may lack meaning and total fulfillment. They want to do something with meaning, but even more so, be a part of something with meaning.

And that’s kind of where we come in with The Chopra Well. Am I so bold to claim that this little digital media experiment is a transformative vehicle for people searching for personal meaning and social change? Well, sort of. At least a part of it. Here are the facts on the ground: we have enormous challenges in front of us – ecologically, socially, economically, spiritually, and scientifically. Because of the times that we live in and the technology that comes with it including social networks like this one that give us the ability to communicate with one another, form critical mass, and create collective intent – we also have enormous power to rapidly create and transform trends. We’ve seen in the last few years how social media tools like twitter, Facebook and YouTube can be powerful catalysts igniting revolutions in places like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and now Syria.

So where we go from here with the means and resources we have will determine everything. Only our existence hangs in the balance. Seriously, we live on the precipice of a brave new world where we can take the evolutionary step that enables us to raise our collective consciousness and standards of living… or standby and watch as it all circles the drain and goes away – a worthy and intriguing experiment within the grand design of the Universe that culminates in a hard reset.

Back at the channel we talk a lot about what our goals are, how we articulate it, and what the measure of success will be for us. Be the Change…Go Deeper… Be Present… The truth is, nothing short of being a catalyst to transformative change will suffice. How do you really track that – “subscribers” and “views” is definitely a nice metric and we really really hope you’ll help us in that regard. But more importantly for us is being part of some sort of shift – be it a personal shift for one of the thousands of subscribers who tune in, or of course a movement that may incubate on The Chopra Well and then proliferate outward. Don’t get me wrong – a lot of our programming is experimental in fashion. We’re trying to be as irreverent as we are intelligent in some of it, practical as powerful, and we’ll adjust accordingly. But real success – I mean actual, meaningful, purposeful success – will be in an evolving, engaged community that simply joins us in the intent for a more sustainable, just, and conscious humanity.

Was that what appeared on the pages of our powerpoint deck a little over a year ago when we pitched the fine folks at YouTube? Not really. But that’s what they got. And the result if we collectively pull it off – I swear to you – will be a better world.

Join us.